Monday, October 31, 2005

A Tale of Two Papers

October 31, 2005
Clarice Feldman

Reprinted with permission of The American Thinker

Physicians have the term “iatrogenic” to describe illness caused by physicians. There is now a need for a new word, “mediagenic,” to describe scandals which have their origin in malpractice by the mass media. The indictment of Lewis “Scooter” Libby is a mediagenic scandal.

A review of the origin of the Wilson/Plame firestorm provides insight into the operations and integrity of two leading member of America’s elite press corps – the New York Times and The Washington Post. Neither comes off well, though the Post comes off marginally better than the Times. Both, however, launched a serial liar, Joseph Wilson IV, on the public scene and credited him long after prudence would have suggested less credulity, and after independent investigation proved his story not credible.



terrye said...

Let's see now how many times in recent years [that we know of] has the media made itself a central part of the story?

Abu Ghraib. If the Bush administration had just given into blackmail on the part of a defendent CBS would not have gotten their grubby paws on the pictures. But they had to speak truth to power did they not?

TANG memos. Needless to say this is obvious. CBS [again] just plain lied and guess what? No one is going to jail on that one.

Katrina: Hysterical media people screaming on TV day after day: dead people in the Super Dome and Convention Center. 10,000 dead overall. Bush failed and people died...well maybe not so many people after all. In fact it seems they over reacted again.

Flushing Korans: Newsweek runs with a story without bothering to check their facts and more than a dozen people and no Korans were flushed. total nonsense.

Eason Jordan claims soldiers are killing journalists in Iraq without any evidence. Meanwhile journalists win award for a picture taken of a murder. The interesting thing about this murder is that is in broad daylight, in traffic and the guys with the camera had been tipped off to be there. This brings a whole new meaning to the whole anonymous source issue.

I am sure there are more instances like this we can all think of.

But the Wilson/Plame adventure is pure media invention. If anyone should be going to jail it is Wilson and his coherts in the press who seem to think that rules do not apply to them.

ex-democrat said...

"They were not simply reporting the news, but rather making the news."
i had the same reaction as you, terrye: if, as now seems clear, there were false statements made by the NYT, WaPo and TNR, were those statements lies, accurately reported lies, both, or neither? and not just when published but also thereafter, over time?
there are enormous first amendment issues at play in any consideration of jouirnalistic liability; but, at some point, it becomes shouting "fire!" in a (nuclear) theatre.

Peter UK said...

What you are seeing the the myth of disinterested objectivity made flesh,it is the abiding syndrome that runs through the media and academia.
In a sense they are right,those involved are outside the process,much in the way scientists observe laboratory rats,they comment on the rest of society.
Ther is one more element which makes this attitude extremely dangerous,a sense of moral righteousness of a kind that sent people to the stake for the good of their souls.
The journalists in this case will not retract or correct because that would run counter to a belief system, a belief system which is no less strong or atavistic than al Qaeda's.
They do not speak truth to power,they are power,and the glory.

ex-democrat said...

i will say this, though: Kritsof may be right that the WH did not make its own case adequately. Tenet's presser is unnecessarily complex and confusing and muddied by the fashionable (dare i say 'clintonesque?) need to apologize.
80% of Bush-haters would never have got past Tenet's opening salvo that "These 16 words should never have been included in the text written for the President."
why not? is this the corollary to 'fake, but accurate' -- i.e. "accurate, but wrong."?

terrye said...

The NYT reminds me of my mother years telling me that our home was not a democracy and I did not have a vote. She was the boss and what she said was the law because she said it was. and that is that.

The press is in love with itself.

I don't know if the Bush administration should have gone more public or not. I am sure they were torn between ignoring the loser and contradicting him.

I think they might have been better off if they had gone to Kritof and ask him who was leaking classified information and launched an investigation of their own.

No press conferences, no arguing with the liar who might say anything.

Just make a federal case of it, literally. See how Wilson likes it.

I have never understood how the press overlooks the whole changing story aspect of Wilson's saga. First he debunked the forgeries, then he didn't even see them, then he did. etc.

This is the most baffling part of this to me. The inability of the media to look at the man and say "The Senate Intelligence Committee says who are a fraud. How do you explain the many inconsistencies in your remarks?"

I know they have a narrative of their own, but this is getting more and more obvious. I would think they would dump the guy and save themselves.

Rick Ballard said...

Clarice has done an admirable job of focusing on the "errors" made by the Pravda and Isvestia of the Democratic Party but it is difficult to focus on these two without thinking of the "15 points" promised on July 12th, 2003 by Evan Thomas.

Why was he so confident at that point? Who tipped Andrea Mitchell on the CIA referral to the DoJ? We're told that referrals happen about once a week. Why is it that I can't name a few of the others?

The two main reporters in the Libby indictment are tighter than Dick's hat band with the Democratic Party. Cooper's wife is Hillary Clinton staffer Mandy Grunewald and Russert was a flack for Moynihan for six years and then worked for Cuomo, too. The Screecher - Chris Matthews - worked for Tip O'Neill for many years. NBC ought to replace the peacock with a jackass.

Ex-democrat is right about the 1st amendment issues being prickly but the 1st Amendment was not meant to be a shield for thinly disguised political operatives. I believe that things will get worse with respect to the propagandists before they get any better. The long slide into oblivion by the Democratic Party is going to be very ugly.

Peter UK said...

Or then again,it couldn't be a brown envelope job,a lot of patrons floating around in Iraq,KSA,Iran and Syria,but nah!

ex-democrat said...

rick - have you seen the proposed Federal shield law?

terrye said...

Tonight on Speical Report Mort Kondracke made the point that this is not going to help the government recruiting CIA agents because they may be outed.

And I thought, well only if the recruit sends her spouse on a secret mission and then lets him blab about it in the NYT.

RogerA said...

Rick--a tour de force. One of the most ominous things surrounding the recent contretemps of the Scooter Libby et al, is the central role of the press in peddling and recirculating rumors..Absolutely tragic-

I honestly believe a free press is a bulwark of a free society; but the existing formulation is of a sycophantic press more enamoured of relationships that truth--so the press has removed itself from the equation, as far as I am concerned--they are simply a player in governmental conduct or misconduct.

How do we rectify this failing? this press, for heaven's sakes wants a shield law--why? to shield them from their incestous relationship with disaffected bureaucrats? I for one would rather have a rewrite of the alien and sedition laws

We live in interesting times--I can not honestly recall whenever the American media set itself so hard against a duly elected national administration, with so little accountability. This is NOT a good thing for democracy.

Peter UK said...

I would have thought that being a Celebrity Spy would have them queueing up in droves.

Rick Ballard said...


I think that you are referring to these hearings , I can't find the actual proposed legislation.

As far as a press shield law goes, I would of course, favor it. If our troops run out of sand bags or lose their body armor I think that it's perfectly OK to use any journos hanging around as the troops see fit. Let the journos have at least one moment of utility in their otherwise futile lives.

ambisinistral said...

What is really frustrating with the whole Plame, yellow cake, "Bush lied, people died", etc. business is it is taking place under the shadow of the looming Iran crisis. By contributing to tieing hands it is going to end up getting people killed.

ex-democrat said...

rick - excellent idea. here's a blurb on the proposed law from the Reporter's Committee:

Notice that in addition to making sure that the likes of Kristof, Pincus, Thomas and Corn can make (up) all the news they want while relying on unnamed sources, this license will not be entrusted to mere bloggers such as Hewitt, Roggio, and Wretchard etc etc.

Syl said...

Well, I'm hoping there are phones ringing at the New York Times at least.


Hello! This is Karma calling.


Excellent article, btw.

vnjagvet said...

Clarice has done a great service with this article.

One of the areas that she might explore for a sequel is the success of the White House in assuring that the election was not lost because of what looks like a conspiracy to change the outcome.

That type of conspiracy is, of course, not criminal, nor should it be. But it must be countered effectively, and it was. The results were the November election.

Scooter Libby was probably the architect of that important battle. I sure hope he is not treated like an outcast, but is defended in such a way that the whole truth comes out.

gumshoe said...

comment for Clarice-

"Physicians have the term “iatrogenic” to describe illness caused by physicians. There is now a need for a new word, “mediagenic,” to describe scandals which have their origin in malpractice by the mass media."

"mediagenic" is too
*Entertaiment Tonight*
sounding to me....

too much like
"telegenic" or "photogenic".

imo, needs something that suggests
""skin disease" more than
"plastic surgery".


gumshoe said...

ambisinistral said...

What is really frustrating with the whole Plame, yellow cake, "Bush lied, people died", etc. business is it is taking place under the shadow of the looming Iran crisis. By contributing to tieing hands it is going to end up getting people killed.

5:49 PM


ambi,i'm much in agreement with you.
i posted this reply to a snarky Dem,("Anne")a little earlier tonite:

Amadinejad may be an arrogant,
brutal man with a tin ear for
the global stage.

which is precisely why
i'd much rather watch him melt down than either party in the US Senate.

the circus has come to town
and Joe and Val wanna be
prom king and queen.

the Iraqis don't win.
Europe don't win.
the Iranian(people) don't win.
the Turks don't win.
the Israelis don't win.
the Afghanis don't win.
the Syrian(people) don't win.

some people have a truly lousy sense
of *before and after*.

hey Anne.

aside from the "8 years of peace"
(WTC 93,Khobar Towers,USS Cole)
under the *co-presidents*,
when do you think *this* war
is gonna end?

and if you think Bush started it all,you've a short,dim memory.

Sept 10th was actually last century.


the Dems(and the media)
seriously think it's all about them.

gumshoe said...

Clarice and yargbs -

apologies in advance if this
isn't very well organized...


"the blogosphere is *inside* the MSM's OODA loop"

i remember reading a book,(late 70's pub. date)about how the digital revolution and the onslaught of software was going to turn "the professions" on their heads.

things were still pretty rudimentary at that stage,
but this guy Christopher Evans,
in "Micro Millenium"(1979,Wash Sq Press,ppbk,likely out of print)
described how AI(=artificial intelligence),"expert systems" and heuristic analysis of skill-sets, practioners-habits and techniques,etc.would be made available "to the general public" via computers and software.
(not sharp on the dates but i don't think DARPA-net was prominent at the time,so no real Internet predictions from Evans)

his projections were off of course(still no flying cars)
but he he predicted ALL "the professions" would be heavily impacted (and devalued) with the major exception of Law.

to bring this back to this threads original topic,
it is common for those of us not accredited to practice Law,
to complain loudly and a great length that "all the *lawyers* make the laws and also,
theoretically "Police Themselves."

i believe what you are calling attention to,
in the *malpractice of making,rather than reporting the news*
and what we in the blogoshpere have been participating in,
is the digital tsunami that is reconfiguring newsgathering
in ways none of us really comprehend.
(ok,so i'm a bit slow....Roger and Charles [and Dennis] had a pretty good view going forward)

stories about the level of poor reporting on Katrina is news in Europe....about a week aftger the Euros were intially gloating about how badly the US had performed.
first the Admin...then the media took its knocks.
(the domestic MSM have still to correct their failings on Katrina...not gonna hold my breath)

the media circus quality of the Plame Game is like watching
the "old gray ladies" of print(and their editors...and their reporters)
melt down in real time.

terrye's first post in the thread had a great list of recent hits.

the NYT buying up the Boston Globe, the old saw that regional/nat'l editors call up the NYT to find out what tomorrow's stories will all be about,the mere hair's-breadth of difference between the WaPo and the NYT with regards to sources,stories,"narrative", digging and accuracy on the PlameGame
(and many other stories i've not followed closely,i'm sure).

the blogosphere is *inside* the MSM's OODA loop,so to speak,
and is seriously disrupting their turf.
just in the interest of trying to see a bit more clearly.

no real malice involved.

no longer Policing Themselves,(your initial point about malpractice)
they are *no longer writing the rules either*.

i consistently find i have what i feel is more complete,more up to date info
(sometimes by a day,two days, or a week) than many of the legacy media outlets.

yet we are (still) witnessing the compounded,repetitious firehose
of incomplete,spun,falsified,elided "information" built upon a thick,just-laid layer of the same
that passes for what used to be called "reporting" and
"search for truth".

garbage in/garbage out.

Anonymous said...

Shafer says Kristof sort of blinked. Filed some sort of correction behind the Times Select wall--no word if their dead tree readers will ever see it or if there will be anything posted on the Lexis version of the origin story.(Slate)C